What is 'PSTN Switch off' and what does it mean for me?

February 18, 2022 Claranet Limited

When the public switched telephone network (PSTN) switches off and the music stops, you don't want to find yourself without a chair. 

Of course, the best way to prepare is to do your research. You need to know what will happen when it switches off, and how it will affect your company. Then, you can make the changes that suit your needs. 

Let's explore everything you need to know. 

What is the PSTN switch off and when is it happening? 

The PSTN is the infrastructure that supports the UK's phone lines. It's based on the 

Victorian copper cable network that is now over 100 years old. 

What is 'PSTN Switch off' and what does it mean for me?  

However, in 2025, Openreach will turn off the PSTN. From then on, the infrastructure will be internet protocol (IP) based. 

Here is a more detailed timeline: 

  • September 2023: from this date, you will be unable to order new PSTN services. With some areas already trialing a move to All IP and some exchanges already limiting orders of new PSTN services. 
  • December 2025: by the end of 2025, all network copper network services will end. 

How will the PSTN switch off affect your organisation? 

As you can imagine, all organisations must move off the PSTN by the deadline. Failing to do so will halt all operations relying on the infrastructure. 

Crucially, this isn't just phone landlines you need to consider - it's also all technology that relies on it. This can include: 

  • Door entry systems 
  • Panic alarms 
  • Fax machines 
  • ISDN and traditional phone systems (PBX)

How can you prepare for the PSTN switch off? 

Fortunately, there's a well-trodden path to moving your infrastructure off PSTN. 

For example, businesses using PSTN-based broadband services need to transition from ADSL2 to fibre optic internet instead. For a flexible, low-cost move off ISDN, SIP Trunking is also worth considering. 

Telephony systems are also a priority for modernisation. This means making the jump to voice over internet protocol (VoIP) from existing physical lines connecting to your PBX. If you take advantage of Claranet's hosted VoIP services and Cloud Contact Centre you'll enjoy a complete communication and collaboration and omni-channel experience. This includes telephone headsets, softphones and integration with smartphones and tablets. Or, you might prefer to integrate VoIP into Microsoft Teams if you currently live in the Microsoft ecosystem. 

Preparation is vital 

Now's the time to start the wheels turning and prepare for the PSTN switch off. Indeed, the sooner you move to an All IP future, such as by making use of SIP Trunking or VoIP, the sooner you can enjoy additional benefits. These include embracing flexible working, removing physical phone lines, reducing costs and increasing efficiencies. 

If you'd like a conversation with our team to explore what the right path for your company might look like, reach out today. 

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